Easy Christmas Sponge Stamping

This is a fun Christmas themed Painting activity and if you have some large paper you could re-use the child's beautiful Christmas Art as home made Christmas wrapping paper.
There are many benefits of making art from a young age but the most important thing is the process of creating.  These Easy christmas Stamps are reusable and provide lots of fun!

All you need are some washing up sponges, I didn't have a pack handy but I did have these scourers with sponges on them so they did the trick. Cut them into Christmas Decorations and provide some trays of paint to dip into. Then you can create and learn while having fun, discuss Christmas and what it means to your family or to the child and get them into the spirit ready for the happy holiday Season.

We did a Candy Cane, Christmas Tree, A present, A star and a circle as a Bauble.
Then we Dimples finished he rinsed them out, splashed them around in a bucket of soapy water and squeezed them clean, all ready to be re-used another day.
Cleaning them is part of the messy fun as well so dont forget to assign the little ones to that task as well.

Dimples enjoyed squishing the sponges into the paint and did some good disposition matching once he got into it, he used the star to go on top of the tree and the presents to go underneath.
I love doing this kind of fun with him because there is no right or wrong way to create. It is very personal and self soothing so it fosters independence and confidence; It is all about the process and how he wants to create. It's all beautiful in my eyes and its the fun making it that is most important.

Creating Art and Painting is a fun and easy young childhood activity, it allows the child freedom to create and use their imagination, it is a wonderful tactile experience, it strengthens their little hands and fingers, and did you know it enhances neural connections in the right hemisphere of the brain which is responsible for emotional regulation, intuition and creativity.
So grab some paint and have some stamping fun.

Happy Adventures :)

Felt Recreatable Christmas Tree

If you look on Pinterest or follow any other children's blogs you may have already seen a similar Tree to this; A Felt Children's Christmas Tree.
I made our Felt Re-createable Christmas Tree last year but never did a blog post on it as there were so many others at the same time so here we are now, setting it up for the second year.
The basic idea of the Felt tree is that it is a very special Christmas tree, made especially for the child to recreate. They are always distracted and drawn to the shining sparkling Christmas tree decorations but once your tree is up, you would like it to stay that way.
With out little monkeys swinging off it trying to grab up at the decorations, rearrange the tinsel, possibly even trying to climb to the star at the top!
Sound Familiar?

That's where the Felt tree comes in handy. This is their very own Christmas Tree that they are allowed to grab at and re-decorate over and over again keeping their fingers busy and away from the real thing. 

All you need is Felt. A Large Piece of Green (well it doesn't have to be green, you might like a White snow Tree), cut into the shape of a tree. Then smaller felt pieces in different colours for your decorations. Pin your tree up to a wall or large board and get your decorations cut out ready to play with. Then your little one can recreate their tree every day.

Its like a large felt board, just cut your circular balls, some stars, stocking shapes and so on as your decorations. You can be as plain or as crafty as you like.
You can use Christmas Cookie cutters as inspiration, simply trace your shape and cut it out.
I used a hot glue gun to combine colours on some of the decorations and to make some presents.
Now the felt tree can be created with any themed colours in any way every single day if they like, one day might be all stars, or all red decorations, one day it may remain blank or with no presents.
Dimples has a small gift bag that his decorations stay in at the bottom of his tree until he wants to decorate it.
Happy Adventures  :)

Extreme Outdoor Free Painting

This was an Outdoor open ended free-Paint activity that was stacks of FUN.
All You need is cardboard, a large flattened box or left over packing cardboard is big enough, Paint and a bucket of miscellaneous objects that can make prints with.
Dimples gathered some bits and pieces including cars, trucks, plastic animals with good feet for foot prints, some plastic tool pieces (bolts and spanners), Some duplo Lego blocks, plastic play dough/cookie cutters and a rolling pin. 
Experimenting with shapes:  Anything will do really, as long as it can get covered in paint & then soaked in water after the fun.
Prepare for mess!
It was a lovely day so Dimples got down to an old singlet and underwear, I put the cardboard out in the open on the grass with some plates full of different coloured paints knowing well and good that it would get messy and let him go.
If you are prepared for an easy clean up, then an easy clean up you will get.
He was very enthusiastic about his Art work, using his entire body to make the Art Piece.
Give complete control with a smile on your face.
He Started with the rolling pin, running it across the cardboard and experimented with the different items he had collected. Lego, tire tracks and a teenage mutant ninja turtle were the favourites until he realised HE was covered in paint and Mummy was smiling about it.
Then he decided it was time for some body painting.
As usual Hand prints and foot prints to to begin with. Dimples tried on different colours and I asked him to do different types of movements like the animals he has collected.
Experimenting with mixing colours, printing, stamping, body painting and large Gross Movements as he painted was the most fun with Paint that Dimples has had in a long while.

Stomp like a dinosaur, tip-toe fast like a lizard, crawl sideways like a crab, Hop like a Kangaroo, Slither like a snake.
It was physical fun painting as he got right into it jumping, prancing and dancing his way around every corner of his canvas which is what made his Art work even more beautiful in my eyes.
The Best painting is Extreme painting with No limits and with No Brushes.
I gave Dimples complete control of the paint and he found that he could squirt the glitter glue right across the cardboard like an "explosion"he told me. He enjoyed smearing it in and trying to splat more out over his toes.
Once he discovered the body Painting he didn't go back to the Lego prints or cookie cutter shapes.
He rolled around, crawled around, spun around, danced and hopped all over the cardboard then laid in it painting up his legs telling me that he too was changing colour.
With No restrictions he really expressed himself and enjoyed himself.

The cardboard became a rainbow of prints and shapes, smears and splat marks. Dimples did as well, almost camouflaging into the work of Art.
After all the mess, it was too easy to just put his still wet with paint clothes in the washing machine for a rinse and him in the bath (which turned a lovely crimson shade).
For the hour or so of fun he had and the delightful expressions on his face as he enjoyed himself I can handle a bit of paint mess, even if it meant getting splatted a bit myself.

Do you think your child would have this much fun rolling around in paint?
How do you take ART & CRAFT outdoors?

I'd love to have you share your answer to that question and any ideas you have with me on my face book page.
 Follow Adventures at home with Mum on Facebook

Happy Adventures  :)

Our Snowman Christmas fridge

This super easy DIY Christmas decoration is a must to get little ones in the spirit. It was so easy that dimples did the decorating himself. He was very pleased with his snow man and asked me to send a photo to his favourite aunt.

All you need are some circles cut from paper or cards stock. Eyes and buttons. Some wrapping paper cut long enough to fit across your fridge as his scarf, with some longer down pieces. Bluetac or tape, an orange triangle nose and dot stickers for the mouth.
I had everything in the craft box but you could make do with what ever you have available; pom poms, real buttons, a plane colour scarf.

Dimples was in charge of the blue tac and helped Colour in the Snow mans eyes. He also chose the scarf wrapping paper and the coloured buttons.
He loved the snow man so much it got a big Hug.
It ties our fridge into the Christmas Decorations nicely.

Happy Adventures  :)

The Bank - Learning to Sort, Save and Give Real Money

Handling money is something children see their parents do on at least a weekly basis. They watch as we buy the groceries, pay the bills, get the fuel, buy their shoes or that treat they've been asking for, gifts for others and so on. It's endless and an important fact of life.

Think about it though, how often do they watch us save money? Or what about Giving money?
Not often because it isn't a constant visual occurrence and in comparison to the outlay it is usually small, this is something I try to aware of so Dimples learns to save and not spend (especially not on unnecessary stuff) and more importantly, so he learns how to give to others who aren't as fortunate. 
Yes stuff can be nice, but I do not wish for him to think money just magically appears from a box in the wall as we walk down a street (or from a plastic card that is kept in my wallet) and I certainly don't want him putting a higher value on things and stuff, rather than quality time, family fun and how fortunate we are in life.

Our children see us spend but they don't actually "see" us save.
Most of the time, savings are done by Internet transfers or a trip to the bank so you can not literally 'see' the money accumulating. This is where I have tried to change things a little. Dimples has several piggy banks that he can see and if we have some small change laying around it goes in his piggy bank to get saved up. If he finds small change at all, it gets saved. Some times if he does chores that are out of the ordinary he gets some small change to save in his piggy bank. He often finds coins when he helps me get the washing out to put on the line (whoops!).

It takes months to fill so this is a pretty special time but once the Piggy's are full we empty them into his "Bank" to actually see how much he has saved.  He loves pretending to be the banker. It isn't as much as it looks because most of it is 5 and 10 cent coins but to his innocent eyes, "oh my goodness look at ALL those coins I saved!"  He excitedly tells me he has saved lots & that he has so many coins. This is a huge achievement in itself and is great way for him to see the build up of saving. Then comes the fun part, the sorting.

Dimples is too young to know the real value of coins and to add them but I don't think he is too young to be introduced to them and handle the coins while mummy has to count them!
First, I photo-copied a set of coins in colour and used these as labels for 6 bowls to go with our large  "bank" container.  This helps Dimples visually identify between the coins.

He sequenced and sorted through them, dividing them into the correct bowls, matching them by their pictures and taking favour to fifty cent coins. (Probably because it is the most identifiable one and the largest). We discussed the concept of saving money, how much each coin represents and their order. Some of our Australian coins are pretty cool so we discussed what was on the coins; For instance our Kangaroo, Lyer bird, our Echidna and we even came across some special edition Olympic coins and so on.

Big Savings:
After they were all sorted, I counted them up and put them into their individual bank bags. Dimples has his very own pass book, so we put all the coins in a large bag with his bank book and they then get taken to the bank teller to save into his account. He does understand the concept of saving it up for something special when he is a big boy which I think is important rather than thinking money is just spent spent spent.

Small Spending:
For all his hard work Dimples gets to take two coins in his pocket, one coin is for him to spend on the way to the bank, usually a one dollar coin that he uses in "the claw machine" at the local supermarket to see if he can win a toy or to go on the moving car ride or buy a small treat.

Giving to Charity:
The other coin is his pocket is the important one, he takes this coin in his pocket and this one he has to give!   He gets to choose which coin and he donates it to charity on our way, usually it is into a box at the supermarket or the bank that is asking for support that month (red cross or the cancer council), sometimes there is a salvation army volunteer set up or a local person asking for donations for a cause they are participating in.  What ever it is, Dimples puts his coin in and we talk about how it will help someone else in need.



The Scissor Box - Practise cutting with big boy scissors

The Scissor Box: For cutting practise using Big-boy scissors.
 The Scissor box is a little tin we have put together that is full of all different materials that can be cut easily.  Dimples has a special pair of 'big boy' scissors to practise with that are always kept in his cutting box.  This is a quick and easy activity that I keep tucked away for special time.  It is easy for me to grab out when we have a little time to calmly focus and pay attention on the task. For now, it remains a special mummy time activity that he can do when I am with him or keeping a close eye on him.  It is still a great incentive for him as it gives him a sense of accomplishment and confidence in using his big boy scissors.

In side Dimples Scissor Box I have a wide range of different papers and materials that are easy to cut. Lots of different shapes, sizes, textures, colours, thicknesses and some printables make it interesting to sort through. He has a small box that sits with it so when he cuts small pieces he can throw them out, and keep all his bigger pieces in the box for another time.

Material Ribbons
Felt squares
Colourful card stock
Crepe Paper
twirling ribbon
cellophane paper
wrapping paper
Foam pieces
Metallic papers
Scrap booking papers
Magazine pictures
Vellum transparent paper
& some scissor practise printables.

I have also added some of our own cutting practise lines on the colourful paper. Just grab a ruler and a pencil and do a dotted straight line, maybe a few zig zag ones or a wavy one.  You can also do it on magazine papers or wrapping paper to help your child see where to cut in order to cut out a particular picture. I did this with some cars & Thomas wrapping paper as I knew Dimples would want to cut Thomas and Lightning McQueen out.

Not only does he get some quality time with me and some practise using his big boy scissors, this is also a great way to boost his confidence in his developing skills.  He gains a sense of achievement and his self esteem develops more as he succeeds in the fine motor tasks he is learning to master. It is also a good activity to build up attention span, focus and concentration.

Happy Adventures


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